After Complaints From Red Hook, Contaminated Sludge From Gowanus Canal Will Not Become Glorious Sludge Island

Photo by Anna Merlan
Do not ever swim in here.
In 10 years or so, the fragrant banks of the Gowanus Canal may smell less like supercharged sewage, while the waters might lose their pus-addled-Ninja-Turtle hue. The Environmental Protection Agency announced its final plans yesterday to clean up the canal, a process that's expected to take around a decade and cost $506 million. As part of the cleanup, hundreds of thousands of pounds of black, sludgy contaminated sediment will have to be dredged up and put someplace else.

But after complaints from Red Hook residents, a plan to put the sludge over there has been scrapped. That dashes the hopes of controversial developer John Quadrozzi Jr., who once dreamed of turning some of that sludge into a giant new landmass. It's a weird story.

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The Gowanus Canal Is Terrifying, Filled With Shipwrecks and Will Cost Millions to Clean Up

Photo by Anna Merlan
A deceptively beautiful stretch of the Gowanus
Sometime very soon, the Environmental Protection Agency will release its final plan on how to clean up the incredibly polluted Gowanus Canal, a process that's expected to take years and cost $550 million. In the meantime, stop fishing there. No, seriously, that's something that people are still doing. Fishing. In a canal that's bright green and smells overwhelmingly like an army of demonically-possessed feet. After designating Brooklyn's smelliest waterway as a Superfund site back in 2010, the feds began talking about how to actually clean it up. The main issue is that people have been dumping contaminants and various other things in there for 144 years, including, we are not kidding, at least four shipwrecks. And the practice of using the canal like an enormous, watery trash can continues to this very day.

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UPDATE: There's a Dolphin Stranded in the Gowanus Canal

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Update 4: Well, we've finally found out why no one's sending a team of divers jump into the canal and guide the dolphin to safety before it dies. They're not allowed.

"Unfortunately, all we can do is watch and wait for the tide to rise, so the animal can get out on its down," Riverhead Foundation senior biologist Robert DiGiovanni told reporters. "It's not safe for us to get people in the water."

Apparently, the water's too toxic, and the poisonous silt on the bottom is so thick and viscous that divers risk sinking into the ten feet of "black mayonnaise."

Update 3: Rescuers from the Riverhead Foundation have recently joined the NYPD Harbor and Emergency Service Units.

NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul J. Browne addressed press, saying, "We are waiting for the next high tide at 7:10 p.m. to see if the dolphin can free itself,"

Update 2: The Gowanus Dolphin's parody Twitter account has been suspended, less than 15 minutes after its first tweet.

Update: Park Slope Patch reports that the dolphin's dorsal fin is cut and bleeding. Rebecca Rogers-Hawson of the Gowanus Canal Conservancy told reporters, "It's the first dolphin I've seen in the Gowanus Canal, and it's probably sick or injured." Gothamist reports that police are now trying to lower a boat into the water to guide the dolphin out.

As expected, there's already a Gowanus Dolphin Twitter account. People are unamused.

Original Post: NBC reported today that there's a dolphin stuck in the Gowanus Canal. In the video above, the mammal breaches every few seconds to take a breath before disappearing again just below the mirky, filthy surface. NYPD are making plans to save it, but as of this post, the dolphin is still in the water and somehow alive.

Sadly, this comes less than a month after the EPA unveiled its $500 million initiative to clean up the Brooklyn canal. The canal is currently filled with dozens of toxic chemicals, some which even cause cancer. Local businesses have long dumped their trash into the canal, and after rains, like Hurricane Sandy, raw sewage flows freely into the water. Pollution has led to a toxic sediment bed which fills the bottom of the canal, commonly referred to as "ten feet of black mayonnaise." It appears that in its struggle, the dolphin is disturbing this ten-foot bed, which explains the oily layer on the surface surrounding the animal.

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The Gowanus Canal Cleanup Will Cost Half a Billion Dollars

The Gowanus Canal has been a repository of toxic filth for more than a century.
The Environmental Protection Agency released its plan for cleaning up the Gowanus Canal Superfund site yesterday, and as expected, the process is going to be complicated, time-consuming, and mind-bogglingly expensive.

Since its completion in the 1860s, the Gowanus Canal has been the home of virtually every high-pollution industry imaginable: cement makers, chemical plants, coal yards, gas works, ink factories, machine shops, oil refineries, paint factories, soap makers, and tanneries. All of these industries dumped their various strains of super-toxic filth into the canal, and without an effective way to circulate water in the canal (a flushing mechanism stopped working in the 1960s) it stayed put, settling to the bottom.

What sort of super-toxic filth are we talking about? Per the EPA:

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Gowanus Whole Foods Officially Off the Ground

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Pretty soon Brooklyn will join the Upper West Side in looking like a sterile, predictable American suburb.

That's to say that Gowanus is def going to have a Whole Foods very soon -- as early as 2013 -- as a city board today gave the grocery conglomerate a key zoning variance, according to the New York Times.

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Gross Gowanus Canal: Cleanup Conversations Continue

The Gowanus Canal, which has the unique honor(?) of being one of the few water bodies in America that can kill a baby whale, might soon lose its century-old street cred as a cesspool for industrial waste.

Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency met with area residents and shared its cleanup ideas with the public. Runnin' Scared caught up with Elias Rodriguez, spokesman for the EPA's New York City branch, to see how it's going to fix the City's beloved aqueous dump.

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Gowanus Canal Is Totally Grody, Finds EPA

After a yearlong evaluation of Brooklyn's Gowanus Canal, the EPA has released their report on the levels of contamination in the waterway. The results, published yesterday, aren't good for the Superfund site. Two suspected carcinogens -- PAHs and PCBs -- were found to be "widespread" in the canal. How do you avoid exposure to these nasty acronyms?

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